Bill “The Aw Shucks Wonk” Clinton

My overall sense of Clinton’s speech was that every time the crowd roared for Obama, Clinton wanted them to be roaring for him.

Don’t worry, Bill. They were roaring for you both.

Here’s Ezra Klein’s argument about why Clinton’s Medicare and Medicaid section was the most important of the speech.

Short version: It’s the only set of policy details Romney and Ryan have offered, so the differences between the two to three visions of a safety net are crucial for voters to understand.

By contrast, Romney and Ryan intend to begin cutting Medicaid immediately, and independent analyses suggest that their cuts could throw as many as 30 million people off the program. If you want to see the difference between Obama and Romney’s vision for American policy, it’s probably the single starkest example.

Wonkblog fact-checked the bejeezus out of Clinton’s speech. And he did mostly well.

Medicare: Biggest stretch is that there’s no evidence that “dual eligibles,” poor seniors, take up 2/3 of the Medicaid budget. These reporters didn’t investigate the possibility that Clinton actually meant “Medicare,” but at that point my brain turns in 3 circles, sniffs its butt, and nestles into a nap.

Economy : Biggest stretch is that the GOP allocated more defense budget than the Pentagon requested, as Clinton said, but in a smaller margin than he claimed.

The few other falsies seem to be more interpretations of facts than straight lies. But maybe I was blinded by his constantly telling me what’s important, and when to pay attention, and when to get serious.

Some have said it will be hard for Obama’s speech to top Clinton’s. Perhaps. But Ms. Obama’s, Mr. Clinton’s, and Mr. Obama’s speeches all have very particular purposes.

My take is that Clinton did a lot of the dirty work for Obama, so that Obama can try to sweetness-and-light his way back into our hearts. If Obama did a point-by-point takedown of GOP criticisms of him. Well, I don’t even need to finish that sentence. It would blow.

Clinton made a plea for bipartisanship that miraculously managed not to contradict his very careful, detailed dismantling of the right’s arguments. Maybe because he was nice about it, praising Eisenhower and Reagan, recalling a more genteel time of cooperation. “Maybe it’s just because I was born in a different time…” Aw, shucks.

The convention in Tampa was so bitter that, despite the failures of bipartisanship in the last 3 1/3 years, Obama and Clinton can claim it for themselves again and come out smelling like roses.

And I’m pretty sure some words will soar tonight.

 

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2 thoughts on “Bill “The Aw Shucks Wonk” Clinton

  1. Always love your incisive take and clever imagery. (Your “brain turns in 3 circles, sniffs its butt, and nestles into a nap.” Where do you come up with these things?!) I think yours is the only blog I read consistently and completely 🙂

  2. Elizabeth says:

    WOW! Cindy, that’s what we round these parts call a compliment.

    And these speeches are such masterful uses of rhetoric. It makes the communications people like me so happy to see it all on display like that. So fun!

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